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West Brom 2-1 Arsenal: Gunners Miss Out on Chance to Go Top…Again!

West Brom 2 (Morrison 35′, Arteta o.g. 40′) – Arsenal 1 (Giroud 28′)

Match ReportMatch HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference

Although it was somewhat scrappy, Manchester United got the result they wanted against Watford in the lunch-time fixture of the Premier League weekend, so the onus was on Arsenal to come with the goods against a West Brom side that had a shambolic record against Arsene Wenger. In terms of team selection, it was only Hector Bellerin that took his place from the injured lot but Kieran Gibbs was rewarded for his goal in the North London Derby by replacing the ineffectual Joel Campbell.

The game began in a rather dull pace but with the way Francis Coquelin has grown into the team in stature and confidence, he was doing his bit to control the midfield but when he came out second best after a crunch tackle with Claudio Yacob, I feared for the worst when Mikel Arteta stripped off and came into the pitch. It’s not like I have anything against Arteta but his performances in recent times has shown that his body cannot cope with the rigors of high-octane Premier League football.

My fears were compounded when the midfield was ‘lost’ with Arteta’s introduction but Arsenal opened the scoring when Mesut Ozil swung in a brilliant ball that was headed home by Olivier Giroud. While Ozil was on a mean assisting streak (11 in the Premier League – in just 13 games!), Giroud was also on a purple patch in terms of goalscoring. This was his seventh goal in nine League games.

Arsenal failed to get a grip of the game after getting ahead and the defense was culpable for some atrocious marking as Chris Brunt’s cross found an unmarked James Morrison that guided the ball past Petr Cech to give the home side the equalizer. As if conceding in such a fashion wasn’t bad enough, West Brom got the lead when James McClean’s cut back was deflected into the net by Arteta. After wrecking the game for his side, he decided to leave the pitch in tatters when he picked up what seemed to be a calf injury, and was replaced by Mathieu Flamini.

This goes back to what many fans were clamoring for in the summer. Most of the fans expressed their disappointment in the club’s failure to sign Morgan Schneiderlin or any other holding midfielder because it was evident that Arteta and Flamini aren’t good enough to deputize for Coquelin. Aaron Ramsey is another option worth taking in the holding role but he clearly lacks the discipline to play that position because he has a penchant for going forward. Now we can only hope that Coquelin’s injury isn’t that bad.

As the game progressed, Arsenal probed for an equalizer but it wasn’t forthcoming. Ozil latched onto a loose ball and clipped the post with his shot and when the manager decided he had seen enough of Gibbs, he brought on Mr. Campbell and his pink boots in his bid to get something from the game. Campbell was located with a peach of a pass from Cazorla but his finish was absolutely pathetic, which was a constant reminder of why he never sees games for the club – he’s not just good enough.

At the death, Alexis was fouled by Brunt and Mark Clattenburg pointed to the spot. Up stepped Santi Cazorla, Arsenal’s supposedly ‘best penalty taker’ and he slipped on the turf before firing the ball over the bar. A West Brom defender tried to console Cazorla to pick him up from his knees but the Spaniard was having none of that, as he was clearly disappointed in himself for squandering such a vital opportunity to bring his team level.

Arsene Wenger was his usual self in his post-match press conference, declaring the game as a bad day in the office but he was quick to say that his team has to move on. There was a time the Gunners were grinding out results and people were talking about how they were exhibiting the stuff of champions, but the last games against Tottenham and West Brom has shown that things aren’t always as they seem in the Premier League.

The hurt from the defeat was softened with the result at the Etihad Stadium between Manchester City and Liverpool which makes next week’s clash against Norwich and all-important game. With the top two battling each other at the King Power Stadium as well as Manchester City hosting Southampton, Arsenal can still stay within the title race if they can get a positive result against Norwich.

Till then, the players have to lick their wounds and move on. These things happen.


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West Brom Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

With Manchester City hosting Liverpool in the late evening fixture, Arsenal can go to the summit of the Premier League, albeit temporarily, with a victory over West Brom today. The Gunners had such an opportunity a fortnight ago but they had to claw out a draw from the jaws of defeat in the hands of Tottenham.

With the international break over, Wenger would be hoping that there would be no disjointed performances from the players. Many of the lads have traveled from various locations around the world and it’s expected for some measure of tiredness to creep in before they get into the hang of things.

West Brom will certainly not be pushovers, especially with a manager like Tony Pulis their ranks. In 12 Premier League games played so far, the Baggies have kept half a dozen clean sheets. In this fixture, the record books don’t favor West Brom as they have amassed just two wins in their 18 Premier League meetings with Arsenal (D3 L13), and are without a win against the Gunners in the last nine top-flight clashes. Arsenal’s away record is also very impressive with the Gunners earning 31 points from a possible 36.

Arsenal Team News

Speaking on Arsenal Player, Arsene Wenger confirmed that Hector Bellerin will be the only player available for selection with the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain a couple of days away from full fitness. The manager also made mention about Laurent Koscielny’s ‘state of mind’ because it has been a tumultuous period for those associated with France. I expect Kos to take a professional approach and get on with his business.

Wenger shared his thoughts ahead of the game,

“I watched [West Brom] against Man United and they looked a very well organised team which is absolutely – as always with Tony Pulis – fully committed.

“On top of that they are in a difficult situation a little bit in the Premier League and you expect what you always expect in the Premier League – a committed, physical, fast game and a game where we cannot afford to make any mistakes.”

Arsenal will be weary of the threat West Brom poses aerially as they have scored five headed goals in the Premier League this season.

Arsenal Injury / Suspension News

Jack Wilshere (ankle), Tomas Rosicky (knee), Danny Welbeck (knee), Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring), Theo Walcott (calf)

Arsenal Predicted Lineup

Arsenal 4-2-3-1 football formation

West Brom Team News

Ben Foster is still out with his knee injury but Boaz Myhill has deputized well in his stead, earning himself six clean sheets as well as some outstanding performances in goal. I would expect Pulis to put up a very physical side that would attempt to smother the Gunners from playing their free-flowing football.

West Brom Injury / Suspension News

Ben Foster (knee), Chris Brunt (groin), James McAuley (suspension), Serge Gnabry (can’t play parent team)

West Brom Predicted Lineup

West Bromwich Albion 4-4-2 football formation

Team Form


  • Last Five Games: W L W L D
  • Last Result: Arsenal 1 (Gibbs 79′) – Tottenham 1 (Kane 34′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Olivier Giroud (8)

West Brom

  • Last Five Games: L W W L L
  • Last Result: Manchester United 2 (Lingard 52′, Mata 90′)– West Brom 0
  • Leading Goalscorer: Salomon Rondon (3)

Gooner Daily predicts a narrow 2 – o win.


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Serge Gnabry Joins West Brom on Loan

Gnabry celebrating his only goal at Arsenal colors

In a club as ambitious and competitive like Arsenal, there are some players that have formed in the inner core of the club while there are others that contribute in some capacity to make the club a driving force in England. I would have said Europe as well but elimination from the Champions League first Knockout Round for five seasons in a row and made me to realistically lessen my expectations in Europe.

While it’s always good to have the experienced heads around to rally the troops when the chips are down, what about the youngsters that are hoping to make the grade at the club? Take the case of Jeff Reine-Adelaide that wowed the crowd in the Emirates Cup, showing glimpses of his sheer quality. How long would the fans have to wait before he breaks into the first team and with the vast array of talent currently at the club, would his chance come sooner, rather than later?

Yaya Sanogo is another player that falls into that class. Acquired from AJ Auxerre a couple of seasons ago for no coin and a big bag of raw potential, Sanogo was offered a couple of chances to show what he was made of and it’s fair to say that he has been able to grasp the opportunity afforded to him. C’mon, the manager dropped his alpha-dog in attack, Olivier Giroud, for an untested lad in the Champions League knockout round against Bayern Munich – is there any bigger show of faith a youngster can get from his manager? Right now, Sanogo is at the Amsterdam Arena with Ajax and this was simply because he couldn’t get ahead of Giroud, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck in attack. With Walcott signing a long-term deal and Giroud doing his bit to fight for a starting berth, I don’t see Sanogo making it here at Arsenal.

Which brings me to the curious case of Serge Gnabry. After impressing at youth level, Wenger handed him his professional debut in the 2013/14 season and he enjoyed a run of games that saw him score his first goal against Swansea as well as winning a vital penalty in the away victory over Crystal Palace. Gnabry’s performances were recognized by FIFA and he was even nominated for the Golden Boy award that was eventually won by Juventus’ Paul Pogba.

Just when Gnabry thought things would go on for the better, he suffered a knee injury that kept him out for a long long time. He missed almost the entirety of last season but he made his long-awaited comeback in February when the Arsenal Under-21s played against Newcastle.

Gnabry made his first appearance for 11 months after recovering from knee injury

Gnabry is a star in the making and at this stage in his Arsenal career, he can’t continue to feature for the Reserves, so a loan move to West Brom is great for the player. At least, he’d get some first-team experience at the club, and that’s what Arsene Wenger is hoping for as well,

“We know Serge is ready to play in the Premier League, but we know as well that what is needed for him is to get 25 to 30 games to show that he can produce it on a regular basis and cope with it physically.”

I’m happy that Gnabry remains in the Premier League and I wish him all the very best.


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